Licensed music for video on a budget

  • Published in Film + Web

Geoffrey Pope

Geoffrey Pope

I appreciate film composers. My go-to guy, composer and conductor Geoffrey Pope, gives me above-and-beyond work, quickly and painlessly to my picture-locked commercial work.

“Simply put,” Pope notes, “music written for a particular purpose can convey things that stock music can’t. Most people aren’t actively aware of this, but there is a powerful subliminal component to every musical choice we make–whether it’s in the melody, harmony, timbre or equalization. Good composers know this, and their original music serves their clients’ purposes in unique ways.”

Nevertheless, sometimes a client or project needs something different for half the price without delay. What are the options? Below is a short list of some options for your next project:

  • Audio Network
    • Registration: immediate
    • Cost: fairly inexpensive depending on usage scale ($1.25 for temp/personal, tiers up to $495 for cinema)
    • Quality: overall pretty good
    • Search: keyword plus browsing by “style,” “mood/emotion,” “instrument,” “genre,” “album,” and “composer”
  • iStock Music
    • Registration: immediate
    • Cost: reeeal cheap ($1.67/”credit” or about $10 total)
    • Quality: mixed, with a few gems
    • Searching: keyword plus “lightboxes” — kinda sucks
  • Extreme Music
    • Registration: human-verified and not immediate
    • Cost: varies
    • Quality: good
    • Searching: clunky Flash kiosk plus keyword and playlists
  • First Com is one of the industry standards
    • Registration: immediate, but human-verified delay for download
    • Cost: pricey
    • Quality: great overall
    • Searching: keyword plus libraries and playlists
  • Video Helper is another industry standard
    • Registration: human-verified and not immediate
    • Cost: varies ($100 for local TV, $200 flat for internet, tiers up to $1,125 for all media rights worldwide)
    • Searching: clunky Flash kiosk, plus keyword and “genre,” “scenario,” “instrument,” “moods,” “tempo,” and “composer” browsing
  • Vimeo Music Store
    • Registration: immediate
    • Cost: inexpensive ($1.99 for temp/personal, $98 for indie)
    • Searching: keyword plus “genres,” “tempos,” “themes,” “moods,” and “instruments” browsing via mouseover

Thoughts on these or others? Please add a comment below.

(Some recommendations provided by FWD:labs member and pro editor, Jeremy Troy.)


Aaron Proctor
Founder, FWD:labs
Director of Photography site

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